Keeping coding in the family: Koelthum Arend’s story

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WeThinkCode_ is a software development academy which recruits South African youth, between 17 and 35 years of age, to get to learn how to code. Here's Koelthum Arend's, who is a second-year student at WeThinkCode_, story.


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Koelthum Arend is a second-year student at WeThinkCode_ and was attracted to the academy when her brother told her about it.

“I was drawn to WTC when I learned that I could create code for virtually everything. Code is behind the scenes in every industry – food, medical, the motor industry, you name it.  WTC has taught me to get to the root of an issue.  I love knowing how a computer works because computers are in everything. Coding is the coolest job – not only because you get to fix stuff, but you can build things up as well.”

Originally she considered studying psychology, but she felt that she was too sensitive for that field. “I would still like to work in that area, for example developing something to make psychology accessible to everyone.  I have had mental health issues before and know how hard it is.”

Koelthum did her first internship stint at Outsurance. “I was in their web team and loved the company. My experience was that they are a happy company because they really value their employees. Their values are awesome – very similar to WTC. At Outsurance I also found that I love working in a team.”

As yet, she does not know where her second internship will be spent.  “I hope to get to work at Outsurance again,” she says.

She says that WTC forced her to come out of her shell. “When you get stuck on a problem, you have to ask and interact. I never felt pressure to perform and appreciate that, particularly in the context of maintaining good mental health. Aspects like working in groups, counsellors being available and group counselling really helped me.”

She lives with her husband, Taneem Cajee, whom she met when he became her mentor at WTC. “He graduated from WTC in 2020 and is now working at FNB,” she says proudly.  

Clearly, coding runs through that particular family.

 


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